A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Thursday granted bail to 31 accused persons in the Suryanelli sex scandal case on stringent conditions after suspending the execution of the sentences awarded to them by a Special Court.
The Bench comprising Justice K.T. Sankaran and Justice M.L. Joseph Francis, while allowing the bail pleas, observed that it would not be just and proper to direct the accused to remain in jail till the disposal of appeals, particularly when they were on bail during the trial and the appellate stage. The court also noted that the High Court had earlier suspended the execution of sentence in 2000 and released them on bail during the hearing of the appeals.
The accused moved the High Court following the Supreme Court verdict setting aside the High Court judgment acquitting all the accused including three women accused, except Dharmarajan in the case.
Dharmarajan did not file any petition seeking to suspend the execution of the sentence and to release him on bail.
So, Dharmarajan, arrested recently from Karnataka, will continue to stay in the Central Prison, Thiruvananthapuram.
Dismissing the pleading of the prosecutor that the accused be directed to surrender before granting them bail, the Bench pointed out that the appeals had been posted for hearing on April 2. It would be possible to dispose of the appeal at the earliest .Therefore, it was improper to direct the accused to surrender before the trial court.
The court ordered that the accused be released on bail on their executing a bond for Rs.50,000 each with two solvent sureties each to the like amount before the trial court.
The other conditions were that they should ‘not cause any annoyance to the peaceful life of the victim and her family members in any manner whatsoever, and they should ‘not leave the State without the permission of the court and should surrender their passports before the court.’
Keywords: Suryanelli case